Take a break, already!

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Personal Development | 7 comments

Isn’t it time to take a break, already? Trust me, it really is.

At least for me. I’m a huge advocate for taking breaks. I know well from past experiences that when I take regular breaks I get more done. I’m more creative, more innovative, more productive, and more efficient! I need brain breaks to refresh, recharge, and be my best.

Despite having learned taking breaks is a really good thing sometimes I try a mind over matter approach wherein I convince myself I can’t take a break yet (I’ll take a break as soon as I finish this and that and this and that), or that I simply have too much to do (I have no time for breaks), or worse yet, that if Bob/Betty/Joe/Mary don’t need a break then I don’t either (Anything you can do I can do better)!

Yeah….. riiiight.

Sometimes here I find myself, thinking I don’t really need breaks. I’m important! I have important stuff to do! I don’t need no stinkin’ breaks!

Yeah….. riiiight.

This is exactly where I found myself this past week. You see, I’ve been sick for over a week- well enough to put in at least a few hours of work while sick enough getting actual work done was a challenge. The first part of the week I attempted to push myself to get through my to-do list but actually completing those tasks was nearly impossible. I sat there “working”, trying to force my body and mind to perform small, simple tasks that due to illness it was not able to do. The longer I sat there the harder it was to get anything done. Clearly my efforts to push through the work despite my physical condition were not effective.

Midway through the week I decided to try a different approach. I wrote the following reminder on a sticky note:

take care of myself - take breaks!

If I felt fuzzy-headed and unable to focus I took a break, even if I’d only been working 45 minutes. I gave myself permission to take even 5 minutes to close my eyes and relax. You might be thinking taking a 5 minute break every 45 minutes or so wasn’t very productive but the opposite is true, I actually got more work done taking a break every time I needed it than I managed to get done trying to push myself to keep working when I wasn’t up for it.

Breaks don’t only have to happen in the middle of work. Yesterday morning I made the very wise choice to give myself a break and sleep in a little or, you know, a lot. After all, I’m still sick! I went to work 2 hours later than usual and guess what- today was my most productive day yet!

Alright, self, lesson learned all over again. Breaks are good! Breaks are non-negotiable! Taking care of my health is the best thing I can do for my personal and professional success! Just take a break, already!

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I love your comments! Do you take a break when you need it? Do you often give yourself a break? If not, what’s holding you back?

7 Comments

  1. Just found your blogsite! Love this posting about taking breaks. I work with church support staff and do retreats on “Who takes care of you?” I will give them “permission” to take two after twenty-five! Blessings!

  2. Breaks are essential for everyone, especially in this fast-paced corporate rat race which gets up loads of uninterrupted work up our ass. It is most common for us, to get stressed out.

    It is essential to take a break now and then for mind relaxation and physical benefit as well.

    Thanks Chrysta.

  3. Breaks are awesome 😀

    I have experimented a lot with breaks in the past. They are great for refreshing both our mind and our body (Longer breaks in particular helps to get more ideas, attain new perspective and so on :D).

    Right now, I am playing around with 2 min breaks (with 25 min work sessions). It is working great for me 😀 I started experimenting with more frequent, shorter breaks after I read the article about sitting too much. Apparently, standing isn’t a solution either.

    The best solution, according to researchers, is to move around every now and then – once in an hour :D. I have already been spending too much time sitting in front of my laptop, so I thought I will take more frequent breaks.

    Hope you get better soon, Chrysta 😀 I haven’t been feeling well either – I have been having back pain recently. It is hard to focus when we are in pain, but I am pushing through (One of the things I have wanted to achieve is confront my pain – endure it to increase my threshold). I know, it might not be healthy (I do take breaks and such), but I want to increase my focus – on being able to focus while in pain is a challenge 😀

    • Oh, I love your ideas about breaks, Jeevan! I like the idea of 2 minute breaks- long enough to get up, move your body, and enjoy a change of pace before getting back to work.

      I sometimes take very short breaks to roll my shoulders back, refocus my eyes on a point farther away from my computer, or turn my head side to side- these breaks don’t even require me to get up from my desk, though I can see added benefit in standing for these mini breaks.

      I’m sorry to hear about your back pain- that is a chronic issue for me, too. I have found yoga to be particularly helpful in easing my back pain, though to be honest it never really goes completely away. I have increased my pain threshold for sure. Regular massages help, too.

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Have a wonderful day!

      Chrysta

      • Glad you liked them 😀

        Yeah, taking constant breaks can outweigh the effects of sitting over long period of time.

        Well, it’s gone (at least for now). I don’t hope to see it back anytime soon – got to stick to the taking breaks every 25 mins idea. I often forget to take breaks (or just ignore, even when I realize it).

        No mention :)

  4. So relevant right now! After I post this comment, I’m going for a walk!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Lisa! I’m so sorry I’m responding so long after your comment- sadly your comment was caught in my spam filter and I didn’t see it until today.

      I hope you took a walk and have found ways to take a break every day since you first left this comment!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

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